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May-19-2014 02:05printcomments

Oregon's Senators: Where are you?

Like Rand Paul or not, he is the only member of Congress who is demanding a legal explanation for the killing of US citizens.

Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley
Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
Photo Courtesy: KTVZ.COM

(JAMESTOWN, RI) - Out of 565 members of Congress who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, only Rand Paul and Chuck Grassley are willing to challenge the President in his quest to kill US citizens without a trial, charges, or due process. Pretty scary, but then again perhaps the lack of courage or their unwillingness to defend the Constitution is one of the many reasons why the US Congress has an approval rating of 11%.

So far, President Obama has killed 4 US citizens that we know of, and he meets every Tuesday with a secret group to decide who should be on the kill list. How many are on the list, who they are, and what they did, is all considered a secret, so this small Tuesday group sits as judge, jury, and executioner for who knows how many US citizens. The legal explanation and justification for such killings is also held as a "secret".

Mr. Paul is held in contempt by the left for many legitimate reasons, but the left cannot find it within themselves to rally behind Mr. Paul for trying to prevent more killings of US citizens. Not one member of the left, or Democratic Party is willing to stand with Mr. Paul in demanding a legal explanation for the killing of US citizens. Shame on them!

Mr. Paul is attempting to block the nomination of David Barron as a member of the US Court of Appeals because Paul says it was Barron who wrote the legal briefs justifying earlier assassinations, but Paul argues: "I’ve read David Barron’s memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation, and I am not satisfied.

"While the president forbids me from discussing what is in the memos, I can tell you what is not in the memos. There is no valid legal precedent to justify the killing of an American citizen not engaged in combat."

So if Mr. Paul is correct in his assessment of there being no "legal justification", then it must be an illegal killing, or murder, yet Mr. Paul stands alone in the US Congress.

And where do Oregon’s Senators stand on the issue of assassinating US citizens without due process?

Both Senator Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, to their credit have spoken out on this issue numerous times and have written letters to Attorney General Holder, John Brennan, the Justice Department and others, trying to get a legal explanation for the killing of US citizens to no avail, but as of this writing neither has not signed on to Rand Paul’s challenge to the administration.

Mr. Paul is demanding the Obama administration release “secret legal briefs” defending assassinating US citizens. Why should such legal briefs be a “secret” in a democracy?

If neither Oregon Senator is willing to sign on to Mr. Paul’s demand to release the legal briefs, they can be rightly accused of “talking the talk” and political rhetoric, but not willing to “walk the walk”.

The time for letter writing and receiving no answers is long past; it is time for Mr. Wyden and Mr. Merkley to do more than write letters and be vocal critics; it is time to take definitive action.

Let’s have a legal explanation for the killing of US citizens without any due process. Failure to demand an explanation for killing US citizens constitutes flagrant abuse of the Constitution.

Joseph Clifford

_________________________________ Writer Joe Clifford lives in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has contributed a number of articles relating to foreign policy to newspapers in the Rhode Island area for years.

    He graduated from Providence College where he earned an undergraduate and graduate degree. After a lengthy career as a high school teacher he turned to the study of US foreign policy, and then to writing, as a means of expressing an alternative perspective. His reading and research on foreign policy is broad and extensive, especially as the policy relates to the Middle East. His interest in foreign policy was inspired by the American misadventure in Vietnam. You can write to Joe at this address:


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John May 20, 2014 6:57 am (Pacific time)

Bill, again more attacks against Paul instead of anything about the fact that your Senators won't step up to the plate and work in a bipartisan manner to protect citizens and do their jobs? So it's okay with you for the federal government to kill americans without due process, just because they say so? Sure seems that way, since you visibly don't care about their deplorable behavior, and find that taking pot shots at Paul is more important. Pretty sad.

Bill Annett May 20, 2014 5:01 am (Pacific time)

The issue isn't the issue. Yes, I'm in favor of Old Glory and motherhood, too. Don't you get it? Rand Paul is winding up to run for President, so naturally he's got to clean up his libertarian act. He's already come out with equal rights for women - with the possible exception of abortion. He's still the same tea-bagging nutcase his Daddy taught him to be.

Pa May 19, 2014 8:39 pm (Pacific time)

Good job Bill in addressing the issue at hand.

JK Hughes May 19, 2014 7:33 pm (Pacific time)

So many people are too busy with their own lives to pay attention to the blatant abuse of our Consttutional rights. Understand this is not a left or right issue, it's about your ability to have fair treatment as an American citizen in a court of law.There are no grey areas....tens of thousands of patriots have fought and died for you to have these rights. What does this say about our elected officials who take an oath to protect our rights by following the Constitution? Senator Paul appears to be one of the few members of Congress who see our freedoms slipping away and is doing something about it. Bill is obviously a retired watch repairman due to his brilliant commentary.

John May 19, 2014 5:07 pm (Pacific time)

Bill, so you admit that he's right on this but still attack him instead of supporting him on it and rightfully attacking the senators who are just talkong the talk and playing politics with american lives? Shame on you. I guess you'd rather play politics with american lives, too.

Bill Annett May 19, 2014 6:22 am (Pacific time)

So Rand Paul - and the father he rode in on - got something right. Like even a stopped clock is right every twelve hours

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